It takes 100 miles for the land to become strange, and for us both to forget.

 

The dust chokes the smoking engine where he lifts the hood

He lifts the hood and what ritual is

Sifted black in our pockets is

Made of what will make it rain,

And not of what will return us

To That World.

 

To That World 100 miles ago, which we both forgot and

He trembles his hand over the valley

Coughing deep plegmatic

Loosing cotton and packets of salt,

Which are sweating in his pockets.

 

I shed my coin, my folded napkin,

Lighter now and still closer to the rain.

 

"Now the rain will come and darken the land like

Slipping consciousness."

We always had the car, until we didn't have it anymore.

The sunset is a dirty reddish-brown from the way men have painted it

And will always paint it.

There are few things but the ground and sun,

Plants rough and pale,

Hiding the bones of nothing.

 

His shoes crunch gravel like glass,

His shirt soaked in close sweat,

His smell like hostel or whorehouse.

His name is tattooed onto the inside of my throat,

That which carves the timbre of a laugh.

 

Water dries to blood.

Sun coalesces to lightning.

The storm approaches,

Moving slow across the waste.

 

"Great lizards once walked this country.

They sang to one another, and built forest temples

Inside which they discovered the light of humanity,

And they used their ancient magic to

Transform themselves into the image of their God.

No temples have survived, but the ground resonates where they once stood."

 

His hand presses flat the hot blacktop of the road we skirt

To be reminded of the shape of things,

The First Blood and the Last Massacre,

How to force this mass into the heart of

These things which so definitely refuse them.

The sunset fails,

And it fails

To hold tight the maroon road

As the rain begins.

 

He holds his hand out to catch the rain,

And he catches the rain,

Where he is dancing in the temples

Of long-dead lizard warriors,

And across the highway,

Soldiers have emptied themselves

Into the woolen martyrdom

Of dead native girls.

 

Their hair is sprawling lush,

Tumbling reckless black water and the veiny pink

Cracked insignia of this collision,

Seven brittle marvels hollowed to hold tight

To the maroon road, spraying

Spare arm and leg brown and useless.

 

"The wagons have come."

He tells me.

 

The blue-suited soldiers carry their own kind,

Borne heavy on cotton stretchers,

To the cloud-wagons black and murky,

Vanishing soft in the rain,

Which turns to blood

While the native girls wait

In silent pieces for their gods.

 

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